May 22, 2014 at 3:51
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor, reports from the front line on her first ever obstacle race
Nervous? I was by the time I started, having arrived 90 minutes too early. Plenty of time to survey the hills, the final obstacle walls and the barbed wire.
My team, who I’d had to bribe into taking part, mainly by not telling them what it involved, joked that we could just go to the nearby llama park. Instead, we made a secret pact that if we had to bypass an obstacle, it would remain a secret between us.
But there were a group of 15 Fitbitches taking part, some of whom had done obstacle races before. Being part of a team, and a big group, made all the difference as the fireworks, smoke and loud horn heralded the start of our race (we were the fifth wave of runners to set off) and we ran down a hill and entered a tight, narrow wood trail.
We were down to walking pace as everyone made their way over tree trunks and under branches, although the faster racers were off like beagles on a hunt.
I spent half the time jumping over muddy patches, little realising I was going to have to wade through mud up to my knees later on in the race.
The first obstacle was a big water slide, lubed with fairy liquid with haystacks to break the slide. We had to queue for 20minutes, which was frustrating but was good in one way as it meant we got to see others sliding down the hill, which was hilarious. Some whizzed down, others bounced and some just go stuck. One woman split her trousers and as I approached, I was just praying I wouldn’t fall victim too.
It was brilliant fun and then I was up and scrambling under a cargo net that forced you to drag yourself through a sticky, oozing mud pit. My team dissolved into giggles as we squelched our way through and I nearly lost my trainers.
All of my team mates had been worried about the running element, classing ourselves as ‘reluctant runners’ at best. But I didn’t even think about it on the race as I was so focused on avoiding logs, surveying the woodland carpeted with bluebells, dazzling in the sunlight. Much more fun than road running, particularly having to go through streatms which were refreshing on such a hot day.
That said, the first stream I crossed was chest high and freezing. It was a lesson in how it is worth experiencing how your body feels in the cold and then trying to move afterwards! (read our post about how to train for an obstacle race here).
The race was challenging but never overwhelming, and even the difficult parts were funny, such as having to haul myself up a steep hill using a rope, straight after a river crossing. My team mate Laura was doing fine above me until I was told to grab the same rope and saw her nearly topple over as she lost her balance.
What really stood out was just how friendly and encouraging everryone was along the way. As we ascended the final hill, we arrived at the obstacle area where all the spectators and those who had finished were waiting.
We had to crawl through a tarpulin tunnel, baking hot in the sun, under barbed wire, through a web of tangled rope and along a balance beam where children were invited to throw wet sponges to knock us off.
Over the Wall
Then it was on to my nemesis, the final 8 foot sloping wall, which I’d been dreading.
I’m 5ft 10inches and while I’ve lost over a stone and a half in ten weeks with Fitbitch, I’m still around 14 stone. ‘How embarrasing, what if I pull someone off the wall?‘ is all I’d been thinking .
It had been the one thing that had scared me about entering but having gone through so much, I was determined to conquer it.
My team mate, Laura went first. She hung there for ages , which made me more scared, but then all three Fitbitches from another team came running round the wall and used their hands to help push her feet up and she was over.
It was my turn. I sprinted and leapt, grabbing the hand of one of the men positioned on the top to help. Fantastic. Only to then find myself stuck, hanging in no man’s land. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up but was determined not to slip back down.
But longer I hung, the weaker my arms got. But as I thought back on the event, and how we’d not missed out on any obstacles, I willed myself over and down the other side to my cheering team mates.
I finished with such a huge sense of achievement. For so many years, I’d been the person standing on the sidelines, spectacting, never believing I could do something like this.
This was my first ever event. Everyone is always talking about running races or doing a triathlon but I’ve never done one. Now, I’ve got the bug and I can’t wait for my next obstacle race. I’ve even got my first ever medal.
Fitbitch Obstacle Team Top Tips
- Double knot your shoe laces so your trainers don’t get sucked off in the mud. Bec Taylor
- In a team, take it in turns to take the lead, particularly useful when picking a route through tricky terrain. Laura Marshall
- Wear old clothes, not your running best. Hester Lear
- Don’t get too caught up in the obstacles and miss the scenery. Bluebell woods and cantering horses were some of the highlights. Hester Lear.
- Get your nutrition right. I ate too early and could have done with a snack before I started. Paula Ford.
- The Wall: Focus, commit and atttack the wall. If you struggle DON’T lie don’t lie down. Stay on your feet, particularly if holding someone’s hand and use your leg strength to ‘walk’ or jump off the wall. Lying flat means you only have your upper body strength to rely on which is much, much harder. Fitbitch founder, Rachael
Votwo Kamikaze’s next race is in Dorset on September 7th 2014. Visit www.votwo.co.uk for more details.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been #inspired by reading about Bec Taylor’s experience, why not join us at Nuts Obstacle Race on Saturday August 30th? Interested? Get in touch NOW – it’s almost sold out.
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April 11, 2014 at 10:27
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Over 15 stone and having undergone spinal surgery, not an ideal candidate for a fitness camp? Think again, as our Dream Challenge runner up, Lesely Woolf , 50, proves to herself and others that a Fitbitch lifetyle is possible irrespective of size, age or fitness background
After our Reboot Camp, Lesley has lost 9lbs in total and has gone from feeling anxious about exercising to signing up for our DreamChallenge Tri Relay*** team on June 1st.
Here’s her camp diary:
‘ Before camp started, I had a personalised biomechanics assessment with photos. It was a shock. My BMI and weight at 15stone 13lbs was off the scale.
A week later, I started camp and as I walked towards the seafront on my first morning, I felt both excited and sick with nerves.
I knew that I would be bigger, and less fit than most others in the group. But everyone was friendly and the group is small so I didn’t feel self conscious. Besides, my first session using the kettlebell meant that I didn’t have time to worry.
As I walked home after that first session, I felt fantastic and alive with a sense of achievement. And it continued.
Each day I enjoyed the satisfying ache of muscles worked and the proper feeling of tiredness, as opposed to the usual stressed tiredness of a busy, fraught working week.
It reminded me of how I used to feel going to bed as a kid after running around outside all day.
All my friends and my partner were talking about my new workouts, and it made me feel really proud of myself. Admittedly, the second week was harder once the novelty of waking up early had worn off and the reality that I’d be doing this for four weeks hit home.
But with each new achievement, I experienced a mental shift in confidence and the realisation of what I could achieve. I’ve never thought of myself as a runner but by the end of the second week, I did although I’d ‘run’ without even being aware of the fact that it was a running session.
Instead, it was disguised as a a treasure hunt session, where we worked in a team, figuring out clues then having to run to find the clues in that location. I may have been slower than the others but it didn’t matter.
Being on the seafront every morning was spectacular too. And the camp changes locations during the week so you never know what to expect. It’s an adventure every single morning.
As for my diet, it has changed completely with the Reboot eating plan. I have cut out all my favourite foods, basically blokes food, crisps, bread, pastry, potatoes and beer.
Indeed, I pushed the wrong trolley around the Co-op supermarket for 10 mins the other day, until a man caught up with me to tell me that it was his. He pointed out mine, full of healthy food which I’d just not recognised.
I have also discovered that champagne and gin and tonic are the low calorie alcohol options, so have embraced these in my weekend schedule.
I’ve really enjoyed the food and people have commented that I look trimmer. AT the end of camp, I had lost 5lbs but two weeks later, I’ve lost a further 4lbs simply from the effects of exercising again rebooting my metabolism which I’m delighted about.
It’s been an amazing four weeks and I can’t wait to start Hollywood Bodies n April 14th. I’ve already got a juicer and been shopping for all the food on the Hollywood Raw Five (available to puchase independently online, which entitles you to join our online Facebook group). My friends are so interested that they’ve agreed we’re going to have a raw dinner party every week and share recipes.
But I’m also looking forward to exercising again. My goals at the end of this are to run HoveParkrun 5km. And I’m going to join the Dream Team Tri team. I’m terrified. What if I’m too slow, the unfittest… all those things go through my head. But I’m going to do it anyway.
One four week camp has proved to me that I can do things that I thought weren’t possible. I trust the Fitbitch coaches when they say that I can do this too.
**If you would like to enter the Ardingly Triathlon as a solo tri girl or in a relay team you can do so here. We will be holding group training on Saturday in May free to all. Sign up for our newsletter to find out more via our front page or keep checking back here.
Want to join our Hollywood Bodies CAmp? Sign up via our Prices & Booking page.
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